TransAtlantic

I don’t usually write about my own work on this blog, but a recent opportunity to install a large scale installation of my sculpture in a church in Normandy, France

IMG_20170614_175025804

was sufficiently quirky for me to make an exception.

First and foremost this is a tale of collegiality and why artists can be , should be and ARE each others’ best allies. And so I start this post with a big THANK YOU to German artist Ulli Boehmelmann

IMG_2241-smaller

who reached across the Atlantic to make a connection and offer a recommendation to an American artist she barely knew.

I was lucky enough to meet Ulli through Boston Sculptors Gallery when she came to Boston from her home in Cologne to install her work as part of a collaborative exhibition that several members of Boston Sculptors participated in with German artists. Her Boston hosts invited her to tour their studios and were nice enough to include me on the tour.  Ulli was a super great visitor–interested in my work, interested in well, EVERYTHING. It was a short little visit, but we really hit it off–then I had the good fortune of being able to visit with Ulli in Germany a few months later on an adventure with fellow Boston Sculptors artist, Hannah Verlin, to visit medieval crypts. (and now you get to go back to my very first post–this is the trip that launched this blog “Quirk”. If you’re spending three weeks underground in Europe with skeletons the very least you owe the folks back home is some kind of accounting of yourself.)

As Hannah and I mapped out our route we discovered that one of our prize destinations, the Crypt at St. Ursula’s, was in Cologne, the hometown of Ulli Boehmelmann.  Any chance we might visit, Ulli? Yes! Ulli not only met us at the crypt, she did a fine job of translating the unbelievably intricate, (and I hope it’s not too judgmental to say)–bizarre story of St. Ursula and why this poor martyr is now surrounded by hundreds of artistically arranged bones. Two days with Ulli in Cologne and I think it’s fair to say we moved beyond artist colleagues to become friends.

The following year, one more artistic opportunity brought Ulli to Boston to give a talk at the TransCultural conference. Once again Ulli came to visit my studio where I was in the final stages of preparing for my upcoming exhibition, “Uh Oh!”  at Boston Sculptors Gallery.

Uh_Oh_Blimp_installation_email

Ulli noticed the freshly minted pile of catalogs of my work that I had swung for (it’s a lot of $$ to put one of those glossy things together, and one always wonders if it’s worth the financial outlay) and asked if she could take one back with her to show the curator in France where she was going to be exhibiting her work that coming summer. There’s only one possible answer to that question: “Sure!” But, truly I thought it was just a nicety. Nothing ever comes of  unsolicited hand-outs of catalogs to curators. And so I promptly forgot about it.  Then one day, about eight months later, I’m jolted out of my doldrums by a  splendid email from France, from one Benoit Delomez, Director of “Vaertigo”,

IMG_5460just Benoit

inviting me to spend a month in Normandy creating  a site specific installation for the 7th iteration of ArTerritoire  in the summer of 2017. Yow! I come up with a million reasons to say yes and a million reasons to say no. Basically I go down the freak out path of  indecision.

Reasons to say “no” :

  1. the WHOLE month of June?!? I’m a fanatical vegetable gardener and June is the most important month in the garden!IMG_2507_smaller
  2. I’m a control freak when it comes to my sculpture. I like to know that I’ve dotted all my i’s and crossed all my t’s before I show–There will be so many unknowns–how can I feel confident that I can really pull a large scale installation together over yonder?
  3. This is a tricky, tricky space that is being offered to me–a church with uneven, multi-leveled  floors, a high vaulted ceiling and a stone wall behind the plaster–what do I know about attaching things to those surfaces?
  4. Sure, I’ll get to make the most critical pieces ahead of time and ship them but what if they don’t arrive–and yikes the expense of overseas shipping!

Reasons to say yes:

1: Hmmm, maybe June is NOT the most important month in the garden. Maybe May is, and I could work like crazy to get everything planted before I go. And, Oh! I won’t exactly be suffering from garden withdrawal if I go as the directors of “Vaertigo” also happen to be gardeners extraordinaire and proprietors of “Le Jardin Interieur de Ciel Ouvert” one of the most beautiful and creative gardens in Normandy!

IMG_5058  IMG_20170628_094102408  IMG_20170605_181827877

IMG_6073    IMG_5067  IMG_5061

 

2. How can I say no to an opportunity to spend a month in France: a chance to be an “internationally exhibiting artist” in my mother’s homeland–a country I adore! A chance to speak French! Yay! I mean–Uh Oh! I mean–yay?

3. And read the fine print, you nay-sayer:  a stone cottage to stay in,IMG_5447

a car to toodle around in, and a charming village with everything I will NEED like croissants and Camembert–yes–this is Camembert country–OK, OK, so the answer is OUI! J’accepte!

IMG_20170618_213350527_HDR_camembert

But before I accept the invitation– I must clinch the idea for a new body of work. Usually I need to ponder and pace for weeks, but this time the idea comes to me like lightning. Here’s what I’m struck by: It’s election season and though I feel absolutely secure that He Who Will Not BE Named won’t be elected (ya, I know, I’ll revisit that thought a little later) , it’s been a down right depressing election season, filled with xenophobic, nationalistic rhetoric. If I’m about to traverse the ocean to one of America’s oldest, strongest allies I want to go forth with my own declaration of allegiance. I will present a piece about the long history of friendship between France and the USA. I know immediately that I want to cover the floor with a coast to coast map : east coast USA to west coast of Europe, separated by the great expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.  I can see in my mind’s eye the iconic monuments I’ll sculpt for critical moments of allied support each nation gifted to the other: General Lafayette tipping the scales in America’s favor in our struggle for independence, France’s love affair with Ben Franklin, the first American diplomat, whose democratic ideals helped paved the way for the French Revolution, the magnificent gift France made to America of the Statue of Liberty–what better symbol do we have of the America I want to live in?

IMG_20170624_121809653

— the reinforcements that the US sent to France during World War One that helped turn the tide of the first “Great War”, and ultimately the enormous involvement of Americans in France in World War II which began with the debarkment in Normandy in which my father took part, his march into Paris with Eisenhower, and his serendipitous meeting of a French student–my mother .

OK, so I’ve got my idea–and then OH NO!  The Elections! The unthinkable happens: He Who Shall Not Be Named (fondly referred to by the French as “Agent Orange”) wins. He will be the American President as I set out to be an art ambassador. I am ashamed!  I resolve to strip away any images from my artwork that smack of his “America first”  and “military might” rhetoric. So no battleships landing in Normandy, no military anything.  I pare down my idea to the most personal part of my story:  My mother and grandmother reaching across the ocean to keep themselves tied together. Their allegiance will be the stand-in for the allegiance of nations that brought my parents together, that helped keep France French, that helped birth the democracy that is America.

As I get down to work, my first concern is my  quest for the perfect map. I want to find a map with the graphics of the 1940’s. It must show both coasts. It must be available online, open source, so I can print it out myself. And most importantly it must be of a super, super high resolution so I don’t end up with a pixelated mess. I search for days. There are zillions of maps–none of which fit all my criteria. I complain to my son, Isaiah, who gallantly takes on this needle-in-a-haystack challenge with supreme confidence in his superior googling ability.

IMG_4840_smaller

And Bingo–in one hour he comes up with a map made collaboratively in 1938 by the American and British armies for their joint efforts in WWII. The map is currently owned and digitized at a crazy high resolution  by the University of Texas, Austin and open all to reprint. (The resolution is so high that the tiny village where I install the work–Athis de L’Orne, popoulation 2,000, is clearly written on the map. That’s exciting!) Well, it turns out practically the whole world is available to print out except for two copyrighted countries: Spain and Canada, a mystery which I never solved and which took days more of sleuthing to find good alternate maps of these countries. Pictured above with my son is my husband, David (also gallant), who offered up his Photoshop wizardry to retro fit the Spain and Canada sections to fit the rest of the map.

IMG_20170614_104315164_HDR               IMG_20170617_200215734

But that’s not all that needs to be accomplished in this daunting task. All the Mercator lines (the pesky curves that the longitude and latitude lines take as they wrap around around a sphere) need to be straightened as my Atlantic Ocean will be FLAT.

This is the look on your face you get when your ship reaches the edge of the flat Earth and you know you’re going to fall off with the next puff of wind:IMG_20170619_144212522

Besides flattening the globe I need a system for organizing the hundreds of map quadrants I’m going to be printing out . For this I have my faithful “tech guy”, Rick:  Rick lighting Scrap

I turn three rooms of our home over to the map project: Isaiah’s room becomes Canada, Nora’s is the USA, the study is Europe, and the ocean, well, no room for the ocean–it’s relegated to a stack which gets higher, and higher, and higher. I work on the map every evening and weekend, all winter.  I go through a zillion cartridges of ink. I get friendly with the Epson help center in India. I dream in 13″ x 13″ grids. And when I need a break from all that blue, I scan and print the envelopes my grandmother and mother saved from their life time correspondence:transatlantic_life_boats

During the week I’m in my studio in Somerville, MA constructing and carving the iconic symbols of our two countries, the Statue of Liberty and the Tour Eiffel.

IMG_20170615_124504433

I’m also making airplanes to fly overhead but, not military planes. They will be passenger planes, each one carrying a letter my mother wrote to her mother describing her new life in America.

IMG_5777

And instead of battleships I will put in the Queen Elizabeth Ocean liner (which played an important role in the WWII efforts when it was commandeered by the British Navy) that my grandmother took the one summer she came to visit. It will trail life boats carrying her letters to us.

IMG_20170624_121404634

All these components, the ocean liner, the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, the hundreds of maps squares I will ship ahead of time. I decide to go with an international art shipping company rather than risking Fed Ex–I’ve heard stories that make me decide I better spend the money and really be sure my work arrives at its destination.   So what still keeps me tossing and turning at night is the puzzle of how to hang the planes from the high,  vaulted, stone ceiling and what to do about the uneven, multi-leveled stone floor. I know one way or another I’ll have to build out a new wood floor to apply the map to–that notion alone is enough to drive me to sign up for weekly French tutoring sessions where I spend the weeks translating my various neurotic emails as well as trying to get a handle on lumberyard terminology. I mean, really you can’t go in a French lumberyard and say I’d like ten 2×4’s please. First of all–everything is in centimeters and who the heck knows what the standards are there. Furthermore, if you look up the word for stud in the English-French dictionary you come up with either a horse or a sexy man, and that is not what I want to be asking for in the lumberyard. I spend every Wednesday morning with my tutor, Christine, laughing. I never do re-master the subjunctive, but, hey, when I have dinner with my French cousins in Paris they say they cannot believe how much my French has improved!

I need (note the word need instead of want) one more thing: my reliable partner in crime, my artist friend and colleague, Abbie Read, to accompany me.

.IMG_20170619_143658102

She agrees to eat the aforementioned croissants and camembert with me every day AND help me install the work! Besides being a gluer extraordinaire, Abbie painted beautiful cloud friezes for my planes to fly in front of.

IMG_5596

IMG_20170624_121831097

 

You can tell by these images that despite my worries the piece worked out.

I arrived in Athis de lOrne:

IMG_20170604_170758357

Found my crate waiting for me   IMG_20170605_093355291

at the beautiful home of Dominique and Benoit Delomez:IMG_20170605_132441497_HDR

Met my church, Le Temple Protestant:

IMG_20170605_155835331

Discovered their politics were exactly in sync with my own:

IMG_20170613_092022047

 

Got the floor built:

:IMG_20170612_101225364   IMG_20170612_100948793   IMG_20170612_171629510_HDR

gave the parishioners an ocean to walk on:IMG_20170619_182732223

IMG_20170619_143113781_HDR

Got the planes hung (giant c-clamps around the gothic arches):

IMG_20170622_172313457

IMG_20170622_112943480

IMG_5608

Posed in front of the roadside publicity which made me even more nervous about the opening:

IMG_20170630_175750300

 

Took deep breaths and  tried NOT to over anticipate my artist’s talk In French:

artistes3_smaller

These are the other  two artists in ArTerritoire 2017–Vincent  Bredif and Anne-Lise Dehee, both from Paris, who shared our stone cottage and a lot of laughs as they struggled to get me up to speed with more correct and current French. On the right is the wonderful Domique Delomez, co-director of Vaertigo who spoke so eloquently and poetically about the endeavor of bringing contemporary art to rural Normandy.

The last thing I did before the opening of my installation, “TransAtlantic”, was to hang  this amazing photo of my mother:

Clo_merge_smallerIt’s a photo my sister’s family discovered after my parents died. It appeared in Yank Magazine, published by the military for the benefit of the soldiers to keep them updated on the war effort. It’s the Victory Day issue. My father had sent it to his father back in Erie telling him that the girl looking at the camera was a girl he had fallen in love with. And that is both the beginning and end of my story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hubcap Ranch

This post ends with a story of how a good deed turned into an art environment. If you’re impatient to find out how this could be, skip to the end, but you’ll be missing some pretty cool art along the way.

A recent trip to California to visit family and  to tour the fabulous new San Francisco Museum of Modern Art turned into a glorious road-trip. In just three days the Bay area and surrounding countryside offered  up the most glorious array of artistic diversity.

img_4832

The undulating SFMOMA is now my favorite renovation of the myriad of museum upgrades that have swept the country in the last decade (shout out to Deputy Director Ruth Berson,  for her incredible leadership in this project).

img_4820

I really loved the little display of idea “sketches” for the museum renovation presented by the architectural firm, Snohetta:

img_20160925_110020849_hdr              img_20160925_105943827_hdr

img_20160925_110006076_hdr              img_20160925_105902213_hdr

img_20160925_105844869_hdr              img_20160925_105829302_hdr

img_20160925_105951780_hdr              img_20160925_105959503_hdr

Across the street from the SFMOMA is the wonderful Yerba Buena Art Center which–jackpot!– was showcasing at the time of my visit one of my very favorite artists, Tom Sachs.

img_4849

Whacking together unbelievably complex and massive sculptures with little more than packing tape, cardboard and soda bottles, Sachs has constructed his visionary “Europa”, as part of his ongoing fixation with NASA’s space program. He has thought of “everything the astronauts will need to successfully complete their mission to Jupiter’s icy moon” including the all important outhouse which bears an uncanny and satisfying resemblance to a jet plane’s lavatory.

img_4852         img_4853

img_4854

Ruth Berson also introduced us to her beloved “Creativity Explored”, a studio workshop  and gallery for artists with intellectual disabilities.

img_4890     img_4889

img_4885      img_4886

We loved it so much we went back for a second visit on Monday and saw the studio buzzing with productivity.img_4887

I doubt you’ll find another group of artists anywhere more intent on their work than here.

With the couple extra days I had  to tool around in California I headed up to Napa Valley. The drive through Napa Valley vineyards

20130220_154652

is a visual feast in and of itself. But we went to drink in a couple other sites. Our first stop: the Di Rosa Museum. A San Francisco friend had brought me there a couple years ago and I wanted to revisit with my son, who has inherited my penchant for all things quirky.

Situated on the shore of Winery Lake, the Di Rosa Museum houses the estate collection of the vineyard owning,  art collecting, bon vivants Veronica and Rene Di Rosa.img_20160923_121014687

One has the feeling as one tours the estate (and one can only see the DiRosa collection as part of a museum tour–don’t just show up there unannounced), that collecting art served as a great excuse to the Di Rosas for non-stop partying. It’s a wild ride following the twists and turns of the DiRosa’s art tastes.

img_20160923_102200950

Art car master, David Best retooled this Cadillac for Veronica Di Rosa.

img_20160923_101820055

20130220_142455

And Rene jumped into the act of art making with this one creation of his own:

20130220_144638

Well, his hanging car may  not be great art, but just about everything else in his collection is top notch–some of my favorite  artists and so many great artists new to me, all hailing from  northern California.:

Viola Frey :

20130220_135005            20130220_154102

These next two are Sandow Birk’s. Though created many years ago, they were apt viewing during our miserable campaign and election season.

20130220_142743

20130220_143716

And this is Chester Arnold. Where have you been all my life, Chester?

img_20160923_105043352

And Mildred Howard’s luminescent Bottle House:

img_20160923_102405350_hdr

OK, finally! The real destination of this trip through Napa Valley (you will now be rewarded for slogging through this post to get to the bait tangled on the hook of the first sentence).  Litto’s Hubcap Ranch!  

img_4774 Located just one hour’s drive north of San Francisco, in Pope Valley, Hubcap Ranch was the retirement home of Emanuele “Litto” Damonte.  Litto,  came to California from Genoa, Italy in the early 1900’s. His father passed on his stone mason trade to him which provided Litto  with lucrative work, including marble carving for the William Randolf Hearst mansion.

A smooth ribbon of a road now passes by the ranch but at the time that Litto settled in Pope Valley the rough and winding dirt road was pitted with potholes which tended to pop the hubcaps off  passing automobiles. Litto thought he’d do a good turn by collecting the hubcaps and affixing them to his property fence.

img_4778

img_4780

He assumed that folks who had lost them would pick them up the next time they drove by. Apparently nobody came to reclaim their hubcaps and soon the collection grew to the point where passers by thought Litto just LOVED hubcaps, so they started dropping off contributions for his “collection”. These too, he affixed to the front fence til that was full. He then extended the collection to the barbed wired that looped around the ranch.

img_4786

Before Litto knew it he had become a hubcap connoisseur. He singled out the most select examples for special placement on his out buildings and his home.

img_4770

img_4777

No one’s got an exact count, but it’s said there may be as many as 5,000 hubcaps catching the rays on Hubcap Ranch.

Two years after Litto’s death, Hubcap Ranch received the official designation of  California Historic Landmark.

img_4799

Hubcap Ranch is currently the residence of Litto’s grandson, Mike Damonte, who does his best to maintain the property

img_4759

in all its quirky glory.

img_4775

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Guislain Museum

A museum whose mission is “to  question the distinction between normal and abnormal”?  You know I’ve got to write a post about that! Just the name itself, the Dr. Guislain Museum, intrigues. Never mind the fact that the guidebooks don’t mention this museum as one of the reasons one might consider visiting picturesque Ghent, Belgium. It is this unique museum that put Belgium on my itinerary a couple years ago.

1-28-2013 465

I had noticed that several of the European outsider artists I follow had work in the collection of the Dr. Guislain Museum, and curious about the museum’s name in relationship to its collection I looked it up. Turns out, not only was Dr. Guislain a real doctor, he was an early proponent of humane care for psychiatric patients. He headed up the first insane asylum in Belgium which became known later, as the Dr. Guislain Hospital.

1-28-2013 565 Following in the enlightened footsteps of the hospital’s founder, the modern day (and current) director, Dr. Rene Stockman, pursued the provocative idea of converting a large part of the hospital into a museum. At the heart of this vision was the belief that light needed to be shed onto the dark history of psychiatry in order to normalize society’s relationship to the mentally ill. Rather than hiding away the array of objects and photographs that the hospital had in its possession, the director put them on display.

 So that’s one part of the museum: the history of psychiatry. There are two other components to the museum: temporary exhibits (mainly contemporary art) that relate in some way to the theme of mental health (There was a great show up when I visited entitled “Nervous Women”, which examined  illnesses historically and culturally  linked to women, such as hysteria and anorexia). The third section of the museum–the section that drew me to Ghent in the first place– is their major collection of art made by artists with mental illness or intellectual disability.
The Dr. Guislain Museum has the largest holdings of Netherlands’s most celebrated outsider artist (one of my all time favorites): Willem Van Genk.
Van Genk, who died fairly recently, (2005) drew, painted and sculpted the subject matter he was obsessed with: urban landscapes with a particular emphasis on transportation systems, and most with references to his other obsession–Russian communism.
1-28-2013 537
1-28-2013 527
1-28-2013 523
At the end of his life, Van Genk turned almost exclusively to sculpture. The Dr. Guislain Museum has  installed his work as it had been set up in Van Genk’s own home:
1-28-2013 529
The raincoats, by the way, were a major part of Van Genk’s oeuvre, as is the library of books upon which his massive train station sits.
1-28-2013 535
1-28-2013 540
1-28-2013 533
Another extraordinary room-sized installation of the little known outsider, Hans Langner, is testament in and of itself what an unusual institution the Dr. Guislain Museum is.
1-28-2013 562
Can you think of any other venue that has given such a difficult, idiosyncratic work this amount of space and this level of respect?
1-28-2013 561
1-28-2013 558
A similarly sprawling cityscape (I neglected to take a note of the artist’s name) occupies another room. Ah! a little edit here: Dutch outsider art logger extraordinaire, Henk Van Es just emailed me to identify this artist–fellow Dutchman, Bertus Jonkers. Read Henk’s very interesting post here.
1-28-2013 498
1-28-2013 494
1-28-2013 482
And then there’s many, many stellar works by both well known and obscure outsider artists.
Oh, I wish I had taken note of this artist’s name. If by chance you know, tell me and I’ll  gratefully add in the info.
1-28-2013 475
1-28-2013 484
1-28-2013 490
1-28-2013 564
 Henk Van Es to the rescue again! He helped me identify the maker of this submarine: another Dutchman, Gerard van Lankveld
1-28-2013 469
 The incredibly knitted work of: Marie-Rose Lortet:
1-28-2013 5061-28-2013 5101-28-2013 511
1-28-2013 507
The dense collaged figures of Simone le Carre:
1-28-2013 513
Austrian artist, August Walla:
1-28-2013 491
This gem by Adolf Wolfli:
1-28-2013 468
Well, I could go on–I probably photographed the whole collection. Hopefully I’ve enticed you enough that should you find yourself in Brussels, you’ll hop on the train for the hour-long ride to Ghent. And drink in this treasure for yourself!
1-28-2013 457
Hat’s off (er, I mean–on!) to my fabulous travel partner, and coincidentally my husband, who was thoughtful enough to wear clothing that matched this very photogenic facade.
1-28-2013 450
Should none of this interest you, I am certain, that at the very least you will find solace in Ghent chocolate (It is Belgium, after all!) served to you by this chocolatier:
1-28-2013 463.jpg
I get the sense he was put off by the leopard skin coat of this customer. I know you will not wear a similar coat–so do not worry–he will be more friendly to you.
1-28-2013 462

Pollock’s Toy Museum

I love museums of all kinds: art, science, ethnology, history. And while I truly appreciate the big famous venues, I have a special place in my heart for small unheralded museums. Most of all I love a museum which perfectly reflects the gestalt of the collection. Rather than the traditional neutral role that most museums play in relationship to  their collections, these little anachronistic gems become works of art themselves. Their very beings are so intertwined with their holdings that collection and museum become one.

1-28-2013 270

Just such a gem is the Pollock’s Toy Museum in the heart of London. Currently under the directorship of the grandson of the museum founder, Marguerite Fawdry, Pollock’s began its life not as a museum, but as the workshop and store for Benjamin Pollock’s Toy Theaters. Mr. Pollock hand painted and constructed these popular Victorian  paper entertainments. The museum, which was founded in 1956 on the premises of the toy theater shop ( at a  different location than where the Pollock Toy Museum is today), has many of the original paper theaters in its holdings.  The collection has been augmented  with  Victorian through 1950’s era toys.

1-28-2013 307

Stepping into the museum I wanted to pinch myself to see if I had fallen asleep on the couch reading Dickens and was dreaming up my surroundings. The deeply satisfying, thickly layered paint of the red and green walls, doors and stairwell drew me into the space with a magnetic, slow motion kind of pull. After paying my 6 pounds to the ticket taker, who beckoned forward,  I found myself pleasingly alone in this twisty-turny multi-roomed museum.

1-28-2013 274

Up the steps, slowly, slowly, every inch another treasure to admire:

1-28-2013 312

 

1-28-2013 314

And then the individual rooms! Oh! Categorized and organized, but not too organized.

1-28-2013 334

1-28-2013 284

1-28-2013 291

1-28-2013 308

Stuffed with playthings, some just so barely brushing up against my own childhood that I wondered if my siblings would rush in and snatch the vision away and say these were their toys.

1-28-2013 288

But, no, we’d been taught to share, so all was well. I could relax and drink it in.

1-28-2013 289

And send myself backwards and forwards in time, at the same instant.

1-28-2013 287

1-28-2013 290

and marvel over how certain it once had been that some toys were for BOYS ONLY. I was happy that my brother’s Meccano set, a favorite of all of us kids, had not had this definitive labeling by the time it was manufactured for my era.

1-28-2013 286

One of the things I love about the Pollock collection is how used the objects are. Chosen for being loved rather than for being in pristine condition.

1-28-2013 283

1-28-2013 345

1-28-2013 311

1-28-2013 304

The doll room showed this most of all.

1-28-2013 357

And yes, the doll creep factor is in full swing in the doll room. This doll and the next could easily be responsible for the invention of the night light.

1-28-2013 364

1-28-2013 330

Not hard to come up with a story for this pair, Constance and Geraldine, siblings trapped together for eternity, their individual personalities becoming sharper over the decades. Geraldine, always the  confident one, has become insufferable, and Constance, well, poor thing, by now she’s just a shell of her former self.

1-28-2013 324

Chastity could never go outside to play because she could not risk getting grass stains on her outfit.

1-28-2013 356

And no wonder she dressed this way. This was her mother–no fun at all!

1-28-2013 323

Here’s the look on Tildy’s face after her brother told her she most definitely could NOT play with his Meccano set.

1-28-2013 354

It was embarrassing going out with Gertrude. She didn’t seem to understand she was making a spectacle of herself. She never seemed to notice that folks were pointing at her and whispering to each other.

1-28-2013 350

Ah, that Lucinda! She’s been caught stuffing sugar cubes in her cheeks again.

1-28-2013 367

Mary Ella is the perfect child when her parents are at home. But as soon as they leave for the evening she throws wild parties that start with Spin the Bottle and then proceed to much, much worse activities.

1-28-2013 331

And these two kids, there’s a reason why they look, well, so disturbed…

1-28-2013 355

All their furniture is made with BONES!

1-28-2013 339

Time to go! Back down the stairs, past all those games there was never enough time for. (Yes, I CAN end on a preposition if I want to!)

1-28-2013 275